The focus of this presentation is on the introduction of an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) into clinical courses in an undergraduate nursing programme, as well as discussion of some of the major findings of the associated research.
Following a curriculum review, clinical courses in an undergraduate nursing programme were changed to reflect Nursing Council competencies. An ePortfolio was introduced to assist students to develop and demonstrate these competencies and clinical nurse lecturers to support students and assess their competency. A combination of focus groups and questionnaires provided evidence of the outcomes of this change in practice.
The findings reflected what is already known in the literature about ePortfolios supporting a constructivist approach to student learning, ownership by the student, reflection on practice and scaffolding of student learning. The major lessons learned from the current research were around the transparency of processes enforced by the ePortfolio. This highlighted issues around clinical lecturer feedback, clinical lecturer expectations of students, engagement between students and clinical lecturers and understanding of competencies and assessment of students. Changes in practice were made to promote consistency, authenticity and to promote effective use of the ePortfolio as a tool to support clinical competency.
The introduction of a clinical ePortfolio assists the development and assessment of clinical competency in undergraduate nursing students, also enforcing changes in clinical lecturers’ practice in supporting and assessing clinical competency. This is a key point that other undergraduate nursing programmes may need to consider when introducing an ePortfolio.
Key words: Nursing, education; ePortfolio; clinical practice.